HARRIS COUNTY - Coronavirus COVID-19 has canceled/postponed many scheduled events recently, including IRONMAN Texas in the Woodlands.
The 140.6-mile triathlon had been scheduled for Saturday, April 25.
The race is one of the biggest weeks economically for the Woodlands, as roughly 2,500 athletes and their family/friends visit the community for days.
IRONMAN Texas was postponed indefinitely less than 2 months prior to the scheduled race. Many of the athletes had spent months, or more than a year, preparing for the triathlon.
“An IRONMAN is a long journey,” said Mike Reilly, known as the voice of IRONMAN. “Like life, you need to get to that finish line.
Why it’s so tough right now for all of us, even people that don’t do IRONMAN, we don’t know where that finish line is at.”
Even though the race was postponed, several athletes continued training.
“IRONMAN Texas was postponed,” said Nassim Kefi. “We don’t know until when. I figured if I’m ready I might as well go for it.”
“Hearing the crowd, and Mike Reilly calling people in, I [knew] I want this,” said Charlotte Kooima.
Kefi and Kooima chose to do the race anyway on Saturday, April 25. However, instead of competing in the Woodlands, they did all 140.6 miles in and around their homes. Several of the athletes registered for IRONMAN Texas also made the same aggressive decision.
“This has almost created something in people that I don’t think they knew they had in them,” said Reilly.
Kooima used a neighbor’s backyard pool in Iowa for the 2.4-mile swim, while Kefi dove into a pool at his Houston area apartment.
Then, Kefi completed 112 miles biking on local trails. Kooima rode the 112 miles using a smart bike in her garage. The two both finished the 140.6-mile race with runs outside near their homes.
Both Kooima and Kefi shared videos of their finish lines with FOX.
“I had my friends there. They popped champagne on me,” said Kefi. “It felt great.”
“My friends were there with cowbells,” said Kooima.
The finish lines were much different compared to IRONMAN Texas, but just as special for Kefi and Kooima. Both athletes completing their first Ironman distance races, and not letting the Coronavirus cancel their plans.